The Shrieker Podcast 013: Looking Back At Year 1

This month we look back at the past year of Shrieking and forward into the unavoidable vortex of uncertainty that is the future.

  • Phil Louis talked about Wrath of the Autarch in episode 1. After a successful kickstarter, his game is now available on DriveThru.

  • Jeff Dee discussed Monkey House’s legal battle over Villains and Vigilantes in episode 2. The trial reached a settlement in April.

  • Mark Diaz Truman got buried in a landslide of money after the 7th Sea Kickstarter and hasn’t been able to give Cartel the attention he wanted after episode 3. Hopefully he will soon.

  • Marissa Kelly, who gave us the scoop on Bluebeard’s Bride in episode 4, has gotten her game to the point where it’s in copy editing. There should be Kickstarter popping up for it soon.

  • Taylor Frank enthusiastically told us about Dungeon Lord, his Dungeon Crawl Classic fan zine, in episode 6. He was the target of death threats and other harassment from the RPG community and has left the scene.

  • Jonathan Zimmerman shared his first game, Nighttime Guardians, with us in episode 7. Now he’s working on revising and improving it.

  • Josh Van Laningham has continued to work for Level 99 Games since episode 8. The kickstarter for their BattleCON: Trials of the Indines is wrapping up very soon.

  • Nicholas Hopkins has been quietly working on his Lovecraftian Powered by the Apocolypse game, Cyclopean Stars, since episode 9. He hopes to give it public playtesting at New Mexicon this spring.

  • Scott Rhymer has been pushing Black Campbell Entertainment since episode 11. Their first module, White Apes of the Congo, should be released any day now.

  • Lee Francis hasn’t had much time since episode 12 but Indigenous Comic Con is still gathering momentum and promises to be an exciting event next month.

  • I have done a lot in the past year. I ran my first convention game at New Mexicon 2015. I released my first 3 games, Anything Helps for the 2015 Golden Cobra Challenge and Mudsling and Rainbow World for the 2016 200 Word RPG Challenge. I helped form the Albuquerque Area RPG Meetup Thursday Game Night, which has played 30 different games since January, frequently has two tables playing at once, and is introducing short form campaign games. I started an RPG club at a local middle school, getting a dozen new kids playing games. I helped organize New Mexicon 2016. I started doing art direction for Magpie Games.

For a variety of reasons, the Shrieker will now be going into a hiatus. During this time I will be working to restructure the show so that it can return better than ever. There will be short monthly updates of my progress towards that goal and the social media communities will remain active.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

The Shrieker Podcast 003: Mark Diaz Truman

Mark Diaz-Truman talks with us about his upcoming game Cartel, issues with mixing too much reality into gaming, and the differences between designing Powered by the Apocalypse games as opposed to using the Fate system.

Cartel is currently available in ashcan format through Magpie Games. It's a narco-fiction game, drawing inspiration from Breaking Bad, The Wire, Traffic, and The Departed. narco-fiction is the antithesis of noir. Noir tends to be serious and about uncovering a hidden truth while narco-fiction can be a black comedy with no mystery, just people living and dying in a terrible world. It ends ores to separate the legality of a character’s action from the more interesting question of its morality. Inspired by Sagas of the Icelanders, it also tries to immerse players in the cultural realities of Mexico. The playbooks in Powered by the Apocalypse games can do this by highlighting what is interesting and uncertain in a setting. This allows Mark sees this as an opportunity to create games that tell the stories of minorities that otherwise might not be told, to create games in which being white and male must be a choice rather than the default. However, The world of Cartel is not a perfect mirror of Mexican life. It is more realistic than most games, shedding the tropes of magic and superheroes, but it diverges from reality in subtler ways. This abstraction to an exaggerated, mythic Mexican landscape allows player to tackle harsh issues in a way that is still entertaining and emotionally safe. There are not many games that sit so close to reality (14 Days and Fight Fire being other examples) because it becomes difficult to guarantee excitement and drama, an issue that Moore passive storytelling mediums (like novels and movies) don't share.


Apocalypse World and Fate are two major open platforms for aspiring designer to build on, but they are very different. Fate is a generic system that can be tweaked and adjusted into a new game. Apocalypse World, on the other hand, simply offers playbooks, which is more of a way of formatting a game than a system. Apocalypse World could never be generic as the setting is interwoven with each playbook’s moves. Also, Fate has a welcoming community of designers who support each other, while Powered by the Apocalypse designers seem more likely to work independently. Ultimately, Mark believes that Apocalypse games are much harder to make.

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I wrote my first game Anything Helps for the 2015 Golden Cobra Challenge. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Rate and review our show on itunes, comment on our website, or email me at shriekerpodcast(at) We'd love to hear from you.